Seeing as Mason had provided her with, as she says, “a wonderful education,” she looked back to the university for help by consulting her former finance professor, Robert Johnston. Johnston was able to set up an interview for her at General Reinsurance Corporation, a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary. Roberts was promptly hired by the company and dedicated the next 35 years of her career to working there.
Roberts, Mason’s 2013 Alumna of the Year Award recipient, says she “loved every day,” working her way up General Reinsurance through a variety of leadership roles. Her enthusiasm and persistence paid off. In 2001, she was named president and chief executive officer of two companies within the Berkshire Hathaway organization: General Star and Genesis.
But she never forgot how she struggled to get there, and how Mason and Johnston helped turn things around. In 2011, Roberts reconnected with Mason by joining the School of Management Dean’s Council, which assists the university in expanding relationships with executives and creating training and educational opportunities. In November 2012, upon the announcement of his retirement, Roberts and her husband, John Roberts, BS Business Administration ’77, established an endowed professorship in honor of Johnston, who will retire from the university next year. They kicked off the endowment with a gift of $500,000—the largest contribution ever received by the School of Management.
This remarkable gift was, Roberts says, a “way for us to say thank you” to Johnston and to “pave the way for the next professor to follow in his footsteps.”